This is my mother’s story of her wedding and trip to Canada from Liverpool, England .
I was transferred to London from Liverpool just at the end of the war. The bombings had almost stopped except for the “Doodle bugs” as we nicknamed them, they looked like a small rocket which were fired from across the channel. I met my future husband Ernie Lintott at this time. He was with the Canadian Armed forces and stationed at St. John’s Woods just out of London.
One of the many stories I told my children was how I did not have any clothing coupons left to buy my wedding clothes. Ernie said not to worry and the next day showed up with a full new coupon book. He had spent all night playing cribbage with the boys winning enough money to purchase the coupons on the Black Market. Hence I was able to buy a two-piece suit. Due to food rations a wedding cake was out of the question. Much to my surprise the friends and neighbours I had grew up with donated butter, eggs and sugar to Grandma Bromley. A small but beautiful decorated wedding cake arrived in London in time for our wedding on October 3, 1946.
In November I, along with 300 British and Dutch War Brides plus 200 Canadian Service men, left Liverpool at 6am in the morning aboard the Empire Brent, a troop ship. However we did not get too far out in the morning fog when we collided with an Irish cattle boat, so with a hole in the Empire’s hold we returned to port and into dry dock. Luckily, except for a few bruises, no one was hurt. We all contacted our families that we were safe and been taken to London. Our troubles were not over, the British government refused to give back our ration books stating we were now the responsibility of the Canadian government. The Canadians did their best, but the meals for the next two weeks were much to be desired, I was lucky as Ernie was still stationed there so we ate dinner out every evening.
Two weeks later we were again on board the Empire Brent with a steel plate covering the hole, most of us went up on deck to watch the coastline of England disappear. I personally thought after six years of air raids, sirens, bombs, death and food rationing, etc. It was a terrible time of growing up through your teen years, I guess we all could write books on our war experiences.
But here we were, all 300 of us starting a new life in Canada so far from home. The wives I met on board and befriended were Joan Harper, Mabel Flannigan and Mrs. Davies but after years went by we lost touch with each other.
The Empire Brent was no love boat, it was a troopship with only double deck bunk s and cockroaches (YUK). Wives with children were given the lower bunks. Between upset children, cockroaches, etc, my three shipboard friends and myself would go up to the lounges and try to sleep in the armchairs. I also celebrated my 23rd birthday (Dec 9th) on board. After a very slow nine days crossing the Atlantic Ocean, we arrived December 13, 1946 at Pier 21 in Halifax Nova Scotia. From here we boarded trains to take us to our Canadian destinations.
I arrived at the Winnipeg CP station where I was met by Ernie’s mother, Clara Lintott, and his 10-year-old sister, Joyce. Within minutes I soon found out my footwear (a pair of dress pumps) didn’t quite suit the Manitoba December weather. Mom Lintott soon had me in the Hudson Bay on Portage Avenue to purchase my first pair of Canadian winter boots.
(My mom wrote the above words, the rest of this is what she told us as children)
They proceeded out to the Lintott farm at Sidney, Manitoba. Now we have to remember this is December, the farmhouse had no electricity and no running water, the only heat was off an oil stove or wood stove in the kitchen. After a delicious home cooked meal my mother need the facilities. On asking Grandma Lintott, she was informed that she would have to go outside and behind the house to the backhouse. My uncle lit a lantern for her and led her out to the dark smelly backhouse.